On the twelfth day of Christmas*, my best friend (along with a motley assortment of family) gave to me:
A trip to Mt. Bachelor! Liz and Jeff had my snowboard tuned, Chuck and Phoebe provided childcare, and Becky came through with lodging and bravery (more on this later).
[* Our 12th day’s theme was “Experiences,” each of which will get its own post as they occur over the next few months.]
Becky’s parents have acreage with two camping trailers parked on it in La Pine, about 30 minutes south of Bend. The drive over the pass (including a somewhat unnecessary chain-up stop) took so long we didn’t arrive until after dark, but the morning greeted us with a foot of fluffy powder on the ground. In the Portland area, this would have shut down everything, but on the east side of the Cascades, this is just another December. We packed up our gear and headed off to the mountain. Becky had never really been on a snowboard before, so we hiked up the gentlest slope we could find for some impromptu lessons. Here’s where she shows her moxie. These shots were taken towards the end of the day. She’s absolutely terrified, her hands and feet are numb from the cold, and she’s fallen 20 times already. She contemplates…wobbles upright, and cruises down the mountain. This was a personal victory for her, by far the best run of the day, and a great place to stop. She retired to the lodge for warmth and literature, while I got a discounted half-day lift ticket and let the mountain take me where it would.
We returned to the trailer, again arriving after dark. The next morning was Friday, and also new year’s eve. I had been meaning to get the water pump working so we could take showers, wash dishes, and generally be civilized people. This is me, pointing a space heater at the pump under the couch. Jackson’s managing the project. After an hour of that, I gave up, and we made water from scratch.
The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and we couldn’t stand to watch water boil all day, so we bundled up and went for a photography walk.
After book time and dinner, we sat down for a movie, and towards the end we were feeling a bit cold. This wasn’t normal, the heater in that trailer is AWESOME. It didn’t take us long to figure out that we were out of propane. At 10pm. On New Year’s Eve.
10 frantic phone calls later, I found a night manager at a motel who assures me he can fill my tanks. This didn’t immediately compute, but he was insistent, so I put on my jacket. By this time it was around 7 degrees outside. I found the motel, which was attached to a 76 station (you heard me), haul the tanks back to the property, and carry them back to the trailer.
LPG tanks are light when they’re empty; I schlepped all three of the seven-gallon tanks to the car in one trip on my way out. Coming back with full tanks, in the cold and dark, is something else entirely. I managed to get the tanks hooked up, the furnace re-started, and Becky and I to the Homestead Tavern by 11:30 for poppers, munchers, fries, champagne, a meth-head who wanted to give us balloons, an exuberant local woman who tried to invite herself back to our trailer, and of course Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark. Cheers!
It was a great trip, and I want to personally thank everyone who helped make it happen. This was by far the most elaborate conspiracy ever directed towards me, and it was an unmitigated success.